Staunton, October 15 – If the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated nothing else, it showed that Russia’s healthcare system, which has suffered in recent years from budget cuts, is not capable of protecting the health of Russians. But despite this, Moscow plans to cut spending in the sector by 13 percent in 2021.
The government budget which has just gone to the Duma shows that planned state spending on healthcare will fall by 162 billion rubles (2.1 billion US dollars) to 1.1 trillion rubles (15 billion US dollars) for fiscal 2021 (sozd.duma.gov.ru/bill/1027743-7). That news comes as parts of the country report that they now lack basic care (svpressa.ru/blogs/article/278599/).
The Russian government’s monitoring center reported registering 286 coronavirus deaths today, the highest total ever, bringing that toll to 23,491; meanwhile, the number of new infections slipped slightly to 13,754, upping that total to 1,354,163 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1745).
Officials also released figures showing that given the spike in cases of coronavirus infection in the capital, the number of Russians undergoing intensive treatment regimes in Moscow hospitals has risen significantly over the last month (regnum.ru/news/3090405.html and regnum.ru/news/3091062.html).
Moscow led the country in reimposing restrictions with the major indicating that it is entirely possible that if the situation doesn’t improve soon, the authorities will have to bring back the highly unpopular regimen they imposed last spring (regnum.ru/news/3090754.html, regnum.ru/news/3091055.html, regnum.ru/news/3090862.html and regnum.ru/news/3090976.html).
Beyond the ring road, the pandemic continued to ebb and flow, but increases were more common than decreases and the imposition of restrictions and closures more frequent than moves in the other direction, particularly with regard to schools (regnum.ru/news/society/3088420.html and regnum.ru/news/society/3072297.html).
That was true even though officials said there were only a tiny number of pupils who have been diagnosed as suffering from the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3091069.html).Distance learning where it has been imposed is unpopular and officials say some 700,000 pupils can’t take part because they lack computers (regnum.ru/news/3090754.html).
Surveys shows that Russians are now more afraid of the possibility of a new quarantine than they are of the virus itself, a shift from earlier this year and one that reflects increasing anger about restrictions that many do not believe are necessary or effective (regnum.ru/news/3090425.html and regnum.ru/news/3090825.html).
Russian officials say that a third Russian vaccine will be registered in a month, and investigators say that more treatments are coming on line (regnum.ru/news/3090542.html and
vestikavkaza.ru/news/ucenye-kfu-sozdali-nazalnuu-antikovidnuu-vakcinu.html). But epidemiologists say no one will know how effective any of them are for at least a year (kp.ru/daily/217195/4304670/).
On the economic front, more than a million Muscovites are now working from home, sending the use of public transit plunging (regnum.ru/news/3091059.html). Many more firms are predicted to fail if the pandemic continues and new controls are introduced, and unemployment will remain high (regnum.ru/news/3090810.html and regnum.ru/news/3090075.html).
Meanwhile in other pandemic-related news from Russia today,
· President Putin decorated medical workers for their contributions to the fight against the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3090287.html).
· Moscow city is again using moveable cameras designed for traffic control to monitor those restricted to their residences (openmedia.io/news/n2/moskovskaya-meriya-nauchit-fiksiruyushhie-narusheniya-pdd-mashiny-iskat-eshhyo-i-narushitelej-karantina/).
· The KPRF has decided to use the coronavirus issue and especially the anger of many Russians about restrictions as a centerpiece in upcoming elections (ng.ru/politics/2020-10-15/1_7991_kprf.html).